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Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Scottish trio Chvrches closed out their tour with three explosive sold out nights at Terminal 5.

Chvrches have exploded onto the music scene in the past year on the back of their sole album The Bones of What You Believe, an extraordinarily strong synth pop debut. The Scottish trio, singer/keyboards Lauren Mayberry, guitarist/keyboards Iain Cook and keyboards/vocalist Martin Doherty have taken every moment in the past year to promote the album it seems, climbing into larger venues and playing in front of bigger crowds. They only performed for about an hour at Terminal 5, but it was one incredibly blinding show filled with huge musical moments and some chat. Mayberry wished everyone a “Happy Star Wars day” in honor of May the 4th and the band pointed out someone in the front with a Star Trek shirt. With every song a hit, its hard to choose a standout moment, but the united breathy vocals in “Night Sky” accentuated Mayberry’s voice even more.


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Friday, May 2, 2014
Fanfarlo remain one of my favorite recent bands. Should I feel sad that they are playing smaller venues than the last tour or happy because I can be closer up?

When Fanfarlo’s drummer, Amos Memon departed from the band last year, Valentina Magaletti took on the role. The more gender-balanced Fanfarlo then released their newest album Let’s Go Extinct earlier this year to a cumulatively somewhat improved score over their past two albums (at Metacritic) though less people took the time to review it (including this site). So, should I feel sad that one of my favorite bands in the past five years is garnering less attention, which means they are playing smaller venues, or be happy because I can stand closer to the stage and not get jostled?


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Monday, Apr 28, 2014
Ben Harper's latest, Childhood Home, is a folksy collaboration with his mother Ellen. Very lucky fans were treated to a live performance of the record in NYC.

Although I had no idea Ben Harper’s mother Ellen was also musically inclined, it was not a surprise to hear that was the case or that they have recorded a folksy album together called Childhood Home due out next month. At Rockwood Music Hall on a Monday night, people queued up for over an hour (even though everyone’s names were on the private invite list) to catch the mother and son team perform the entirety of the album on the tiny stage, plus a bonus song that Harper had to refer to the lyrics for. I’ve only heard the material once but the music and the stories are twinged with nostalgia, heart and politics.


They opened with “House is a Home”, the lead track on the album (maybe they played it in sequence?) that is a pleasing sound that will have you tapping along even if the lyrics leave you feeling uncertain if a house can really be a home if your heart no longer has ties there. “Born to Love” has been performed live before by the two and it’s a timeless ode that does not confine love to any relationship, so it will likely be a slow-dance song for many weddings to come. My favorite moment was when Ellen picked up a banjo for “Farmer’s Daughter”, which I presumed would be another homely tale, but turned out to be a powerful, political rally cry against Monsanto, Dupont and Dow Chemical for genetically modifying and patenting our basic sustenance and against banks for stealing the metaphoric farm through foreclosure.


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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Cloud Nothings helped Connecticut let loose some angst at a wild-all ages show.

Cloud Nothings fourth album Here and Nowhere Else is a barn-burner. This band, with Dylan Baldi on guitar and vocals, TJ Duke on bass and Jayson Gerycz behind the drums, has been moving up in the music scene quickly, having started out as a quieter indie rock outfit in 2009 but now unleashing their energy via frantic noise-rock, verging on punk. I decided to see the band perform in Connecticut rather than either of their New York City shows because this one, put on by Manic Productions the go-to guy for music, was all-ages and at The Space in Hamden, a basement-like venue that can be pretty dark and since CT has had a burgeoning local punk scene. New Yorkers may crowd surf at Death By Audio but I can’t imagine they would at Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg. The Space was the place to watch people give themselves whiplash.


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Thursday, Apr 10, 2014
A rowdy, tight set from Syracuse-based Perfect Pussy served as the band's album premiere party.

Perfect Pussy were the headliners at Death by Audio. But the small venue was already packed when I arrived as no one wanted to miss the set from Perfect Pussy. And you could miss it very easily given that from start to finish, their set was less than 30 minutes. The all-ages show served as the premiere for their first album Say Yes to Love and was the first of two in New York for the weekend (though they play here often and are back again in a couple weekends for a Record Store Day set at Rough Trade).


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